The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 3, 2012

Ken Maurer column: Rainy day critters

By Ken Maurer
For The Daily Item

— I don’t like to archery hunt in the rain for the simple fact that the rain can wash away the blood trial. Enough of other things can go wrong after you release an arrow, so I like to wait for the rain to stop. Lately of course, the rain doesn’t seem to be able to completely stop.

Turkeys are in season, so one afternoon this past week I decided to take the old shotgun for a walk, knowing full well that I would see deer and most likely a big buck.

Needless to say, I barely got into my walk when a buck strolled out into the open about 50 yards away. He was a little guy. I’m not sure if he was legal or not — in other words an “Alt” buck.

He couldn’t have cared less about me, he was on a mission and disappeared around the corner and into the next field. By the way he acted, I supposed there was a doe there, so I crept up to the corner and sure enough there he was harassing a doe. She didn’t want anything to do with him, and he went off toward another doe in the field. She wasn’t interested either, except she teased him a little by running around in a couple circles. After a little more chasing, they settled down and fed together, every once in a while he would let out a little grunt as if he couldn’t control himself. It made me kinda chuckle.

They eventually fed away and into the woods, but I could still hear him grunt once in a while. Then everything got quiet and I figured it was over for the evening. I decided to sit there and watch the field until dark. I was snuggled into my rain gear and quite comfortable, almost dozing when a big deer broke out of the woods and trotted toward where the other deer had gone. This one was a “don’t have to look twice” buck, with some unusual headgear.

He’s got some sort of weird tine sticking out of the base of the one antler. I didn’t get a real good look at it, but if I get lucky enough to get him, I’ll be sure to get a picture.

After he was gone, all was quiet for a few minutes, then two doe slipped along the edge of the field and walked by at about 50 yards. Then they bedded down at the edge of the field as if to watch the evening show. They weren’t there for five minutes when they stared hard to their left and jumped to their feet. Something was coming.

A gorgeous gray fox came trotting into the field. He came in between me and the deer and commenced with a mouse hunt. The deer and I watched as he would jump into the air and pounce with his front feet into the grass. At about the third jump, he came up with a mouse. He stood there and ate the mouse right in front of the deer.

That was enough for the deer. The bigger doe marched over to the fox and sort of chased him out of the field. The fox stopped at the edge of the field and the doe ran at him as if to finish the job. The fox was gone and the does reclaimed the field.

I almost didn’t go out that afternoon. See what I would have missed? The couch will always be there.

If you get a chance, get out in the great outdoors.

Ken Maurer, Herndon, is a licensed fishing guide and a regular contributor to the outdoors page. Email comments to kenrose@tds.net